Overjoyed at the prospect of returning to the UK for Christmas, HMS Ocean's crew decided to make a festive video to the tune of Mariah Carey's All I Want For Christmas Is You.

Miming to the 1994 hit, the sailors disport themselves at various locations - and in various states of undress - around the ship.

The YouTube film – likely to become a viral hit to rival the British Army's 2005 Is This The Way To Amarillo? - concludes with crew members spelling out Merry Xmas with their bodies across the ship's deck.

The message accompanying the video explains that the crew will be back in the UK on 9 December - after 225 days, or seven and a half months, away from home.

During the deployment, 15 babies were born to crew members, five people were sent home to attend (their own) weddings, and the ship’s padre missed his daughter’s graduation.

'She was going off on exercises'

2011 has been a busy year for HMS Ocean, the largest ship in the Royal Navy. Not long after the Libya uprising against Colonel Gaddafi, the helicopter carrier was deployed to aid the Nato operation there.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman explained to Channel 4 News that when HMS Ocean left these shores in April, it was only expected she would be away for seven weeks.

"She was going off on exercises," he said. "It wasn't until the government started to put Apache helicopters on her that she had the utlilty for a role in the Nato deployment in Libya.

"We were already flying aircraft into the country - Tornados and Typhoons. We needed a complementary layer of attack with the helicopters. So HMS Ocean's homecoming kept getting delayed, based on what was happening in Libya."

When she returns to the UK later this week, she will have spent 176 of the last 225 days at sea and steamed more than 40,000 miles.